Goodbye, 2009!

Goodbye and good riddance!

2009 was, well, NOT a good year for me. Mentally, physically, emotionally, romantically…..

But by the end there, I figured out that trying to bulldoze my way down that same path year after year was not going to cut it. It was never getting better, and mentally, physically, and emotionally, I was breaking into little pieces. Which is why 2009 was the year of my breaking point.

I have to look at it that it’s good I cut my losses and moved forward, because this year I *can* work on getting happier. I’m going to do things for ME – pay down debts, travel, see movies, get better at my job, lose weight, become a better athlete, start dating… and 2010 is the start of all this.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt like a New Years was as much of a “fresh start” as this one. Especially cuz I’ve always been in school – January is the MIDDLE, not the beginning. But this time, it’s more about the timing with my life – moving into my new place on Jan 10th with my kitty and all my stuff will really mark the start of me getting settled into my new life here.

So that’s why this New Years seems bigger to me than any other one has. It’s a huge turning point in my life.

Here’s to 2010!


Healthy Living Holly


Merry Christmas!

Check it out, my laptop is epic:

So, I can actually say I got my Christmas spirit back a little bit this year. The ex-husband killed it, little by little, every one of the 7 Christmases we spent together. Last year was the worst, naturally. Heading into this year, you’d think it would have been brighter just not having him there to spoil the Christmas fun, but actually it wasn’t better at all. Now I was single and lonely, and my life was in shambles. I felt like a terrible Grinch, but I hated being Grinchy and so I was the big catch-22 of self loathing. Not fun at all.

My family and friends tried really hard to get me in to the spirit. My mom made me decorate the tree, go Black Friday shopping, hang Christmas lights, the whole nine yards. I started to suspect something was coming back when I wanted to help my roommate Brooke wrap her presents and I requested Christmas music to be playing in the background. (I did mention that the Prozac might have helped with that a bit too). I knew something was up when about 2 weeks before Christmas I suddenly wanted to buy my good friends MORE gifts than what I’d already gotten for them, when I wanted to find perfect little trinkets they’d adore. I knew when I got my cat a stocking that I was getting the bug:

But I think the nail in the coffin happened when I started receiving wonderful gifts from friends. I got a gift from a new friend and it touched me that she already cared about me enough to put it in wrapping. I got handmade gifts and thoughtful exercise gifts. I got running socks and Gu. But the final nail was from my wonderful friend, Erin. She and I have been online friends for years, and we met this July when she flew out to run a half marathon with me. At that time, she bought our matching tops:

And for Christmas, she sent me a new pink Nike top along with a photo of herself wearing one and a note that said, “So what do you think? Matching tops for May?”

My eyes filled with tears. How did I get such wonderful friends? How did I get so lucky to have people who care about me this much? And I was so grateful to be feeling the love of the season, the good part of it. Sure, the commercialism can still leave me cranky and the scars from my ex-husband’s hatred of Crhistmas and making me cry my way through the day will always be with me. But if I can feel the love of the season just a little bit each year, I think I’m going to be fine.

Today I had a nice Christmas morning with just my mom and my two brothers, and an afternoon where my grandparents and my brother’s girlfriend joined us. Sunday we will have round two, including my mom’s boyfriend (who is a 911 dispatcher and therefore works overnight shifts on holidays) and his three kids, their significant others, plus one of my friends. Plus the grandparents and brothers and girlfriends again. Plus five dogs.

I leave you with a photo of one of my favorite gifts from today, my huge, fuzzy, “plush” body pillow. (Though the long sleeved tech shirt my brother got me was a close second). But with this thing, who needs a husband to hog the bed?

Goodnight. 🙂

Blogger awards

Hey guess what guys? I got my laptop! Which means that right now, I’m at my mom’s house, which is where I spend my weekends currently (aka where I have free time), and I’m ONLINE. Oh holy day.

So I want to catch up on two blogger awards I’ve been given. First, an embarassingly long time ago (coughoctobercough), Erin gave me the Over the Top Blogger Award:

To accept this award, I have to answer the following questions with one word answers, and pass the award on to six others. Ready, go!

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your hair? Straightened
3. Your mother? Cooking
4. Your father? Alabama
5. Your favorite food? Thai
6. Your dream last night? Blank
7. Your favorite drink? Water
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Running
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Presents
14. Something you aren’t? Bitchy
15. Muffins? YUM
16. Wish list item? GPS
17. Where did you grow up? California
18. Last thing you did? Wrapping
19. What are you wearing? Pajamas
20. Your TV? Storage
21. Your pets? Talkative
22. Your friends? Awesome
23. Your life? Scrambled
24. Your mood? Sleepy
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? Golf
27. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Today
32. Your best friend? Many
33. One place that I go over and over? Starbucks
34. One person who emails me regularly? Brooke
35. Favorite place to eat? Thai

I tag these 6 people to join in the one-word fun: Lauren, Sarah, Andrea, Aron, Laura, Amber

Next, I also got a Beautiful Blogger award from Lauren:

To accept THIS award, I must name 7 random things about myself, and then tag 7 bloggers to pass the award on to. Random things:

1. I have a large lump on the tip of my nose, which has been there since I ran into a hopechest when I was a toddler. I think it gives me character.

2. I really don’t know how to flirt.

3. I was a competetive tap dancer when I was 12.

4. I hate losing touch with people, so in turn I maintain approximately 23948983745 friendships. Social networking helps with this immensly. And texting. I love texting.

5. I always wanted to be an amazing gymnast. I never took lessons when I was younger, and the classes I took as an adult resulted in knee surgery. Gymnastics FAIL.

6. I was born with a bald spot. Under the rest of my hair, thankfully!

7. I hate putting on makeup.

Seven beautiful bloggers I award: Selena, Erin, Danica, Kelly, Holly, Holly, and Holly (LOL).

Phew, now that I’m caught up, maybe some real blog posts will follow soon! YAY!

Cookie Exchange!

Yesterday I spent hours upon hours baking. And then this morning, I baked some more.

Why was I doing all this baking? Because Amy and Jose hosted a cookie exchange!

There were 15 people exchanging traditional cookies, and I think 7 more people trading vegan cookies. I made my favorite Cranberry Hootycreeks for everyone. The past two Christmases, I’ve made the beautiful cookie jars as gifts for people, and they’ve always raved about how delicious they are. So I tackled the huge task of baking 8 dozen of them myself.

You have to get a ton of baking supplies and make two batches at a time.

I have an issue with softening butter. I tend to soften it too much or not enough. Took me a few tries to get it appropriately soft, but the batches all turned out anyways.

But there was a big problem: my mom’s oven apparently does not get hot enough! My first batch just didn’t look like they were cooking, until…. they were overdone. Hard hockey pucks. WTF. Once I turned the oven up to 400 (the cookies bake at 350), I had no more problems.

This morning I baked 2 more batches to replace the hockey pucks, and threw them out. Look how delicious they turned out:

Ok, wait. We need a close up. Food p0rn:

I packaged them up all pretty! 14 half dozens in Christmasy bakery bags, and another baker’s dozen to share at the party.

There was a lovely spread of cookie + party appetizers to partake in:

And a whole TABLE of packaged goodies! I got one or two of each of the varieties:

And now I am left with a tummy full of sugar and butter! I will be taking many plates of cookies to share at my nursing homes this week. 🙂

And now, Brooke and I are going to do a kettlebell workout video to burn off a few of the cookies. Hasta!

It’s been a long, hard year

So, a few things.

1. I can’t handle this whole desktop computer and chair business. I am going nuts. Some days I don’t even turn it on. I also can’t handle the computer at my mom’s house that is from the stone age. So…..I ordered a laptop. (I had one, before, and it died right before my move). Estimated arrival date: Dec 22nd. This will make internetting and blogging MUCH easier.

2. I secured a permanent living situation! I will have a roommate in a 2 bedroom apartment in Vacaville, and my kitty will move in with me. This means no more driving back and forth to my mom’s house on the weekends! Moving date: Jan 10th.

3. This also means that I will be challenging myself to start cooking more dinners from scratch, and posting it to this here blog!

Meanwhile, while you wait for my blog to actually become cool in 2010, I will share with you two photos that have stories to go along with them.

I had a hard year. A long year. One that ended with a marathon (and a birthday). Here is my present to myself for completing the marathon:

My birthday was on Saturday. I am beginning my 29th year with a new life. Single, independent, and trying to find my way in this world. My mom took me out for breakfast and had them put a candle in my french toast (and I swear, I only ate half of this madness!)

So, Happy Birthday to me. I may be scarce until the above changes have occurred, but I can’t wait until I am blogging from my laptop, in my new apartment, photographing and eating a delicious healthy homecooked meal. Mid January 2010. See you then!

Official finish photo!

After I spent hours writing that post, of course the official photos would be released right after I hit publish! So I guess this gets its own post.

My official time: 05:41:59

And an official finish photo, which I did order one print of:

Race Report: California International Marathon

Ok guys, this was my first and probably only marathon, so this write up is going to be loooooong. With pictures. And videos.

You’ve been warned!!

I arose at the painful hour of 3:30 am on Sunday morning. I’d gotten about 5 hours of sleep, but I think it was decent enough sleep. I got up, put on my trash bag and tube sock arm warmers, and drove over to meet my garbage bag twinsie:

That’s my friend Jenn, who did her first marathon on Sunday too. She had arranged for us to have two friends drive us to the start and bring our stuff to the finish. We headed out at about 5 am, worried about crowds and traffic at the start like last year, when I ran the relay and we almost missed the start. Funny thing was, this time, we got there so ridiculously early that the start line wasn’t set up! Hahahahaha. We got a banana and some Gu from a booth, and headed inside the nearby Chevron for some warmth. We found a couple of other early birds inside the Chevron… and a totally comfy couch!

We hung out there for a good long time. Over an hour! I got in line for the Chevron bathroom about halfway through but never made it in after over 30 minutes of waiting. By that time, Jose and Steve (two running buddies that are my pace) has already shown up, and Jenn and I headed out with them to the start. We managed to hit up a porta potti before the gun went off, which I was glad for! TMI alert – I’d taken Imodium and right then did a little #2 so I knew I was good to go in that department. We waited for the gun to go off, I hugged Jenn excitedly, and then… we started moving forward. I was dancing and smiling and just felt good.

Jose, Steve, and I settled into our pace. Jose was the “pacemaster”, keeping us around 11:00 or 11:30 and yelling at us when we sped up to under 11, unless we were going downhill. I kept an eye on the total time and threw in some walk breaks every 10 minutes or so. Steve just kept running and obeyed orders from Jose and me. HAHAHAH.

I don’t even remember what we chatted about. Probably about the cold. Cuz, for Sacramento, it was COLD. I hear it was 28* at the start line! We were all layered up and weren’t about to start shedding layers at all! We talked about some of our training runs and some of our hurdles training this season. I hadn’t run a long run with either of them before, but we knew that we were all about the same pace. In fact, at the Cowtown half marathon, I went ahead of them for most of the race, and they caught me at the end and we all finished within seconds of each other! So I knew we’d be good running partners.

Jose twittered along the way, letting the outside world know how we were doing. Before the half, we saw my friends, Amanda and Nikki around mile 6! Then Jose’s wife Amy was somewhere around 7. Also Steve’s family was in there somewhere and got an awesome photo of us in action:

Steve in the middle, Jose in the camo shorts, me in the trash bag

When we crossed the halfway line, I thought it was funny I was still wearing my trash bag, and Facebooked this fact. It was cold, and OH GOD THE WIND! Coming up the hills with the wind beating you down was quite the challenge.

At the half mark, we were on a REALLY good pace. Possibly too good. Our half time was 2:35, only about 17 minutes slower than our half times. Coincidentally (?), this was about where we started walking a lot more. We actually walked the whole mile until the 14 marker, because of our varying needs. Steve stopped at the porta potti with possibly the longest line known to man. Jose waited for him. I went ahead and got a Gu and my water refilled and started walking. And walking. I was afraid I’d lost them! Luckily, by mile 14 we’d reconvened together and resumed our run/walk plan. Jose kept us on pace, I threw in walk breaks, plus we walked up all hills at this point. We weren’t making it 10 minutes without walk breaks anymore, and we were all starting to get some aches and pains, too. But then we saw my friends somewhere after 15 but before 20 and they took video!

HAHAHAHA. I love it. In fact, “I’m still wearing a trash bag!” should pretty much be my quote of the day. Evidence…. the video I took of us at mile 17:

Hahaha oh my goodness. We were all starting to struggle at this point. I thought silly pictures would help.

But sadly, there was still a struggle. We tried to stay positive. Steve’s ankle started hurting. Jose’s stomach got pissed and he needed real food, not Gu or ShotBloks. My knee started hurting. Uh oh. Not even to Mile 20 yet, either. I promised them that when we got to 20, we’d stop for the photo op:

I also took a picture of them with these two girls decked out in Christmas gear that we kept leapfrogging on the course. Good times.

But we couldn’t stop for TOO long, we had a marathon to finish! Up and over the last hill we went, the bridge between suburbia and downtown. We walked it, dragging each other along. We found a special SacFit aid station (that’s the group my friend Jenn belongs to) and they gave Jose a ginger cookie that saved the day for his stomach. I also found a med station and got some Tylenol for my knee (they wrote my number down and everything! Very official.) It was not long after this that we hit a crossroads.

As you can tell, I was VERY much into sticking together with these guys. I didn’t care about my speed or my final time, I wanted to get across the finish line, smiling, and not in pain. The problem? My left knee was really starting to bitch at me, and I was realizing that it was ok if I kept jogging slowly, but stopping to walk and then starting again was causing me to limp. I couldn’t keep starting and stopping again. Meanwhile, the guys needed the walk break. Feeling horrible, I explained that I simply had to keep going or else my knee was going to rebel. They were supportive of course, and I headed on towards the finish line with about 4 miles to go. I figured I could handle those last miles alone.

I kept it to a slow jog, and the sun finally started to come out. It wasn’t warm or anything but the sun being out and the wind calming down made me FINALLY start to sweat a little under the trash bag! 23 miles in a trash bag, and I’d just now started to sweat under there? Hilarious! Not long after I’d ditched the bag, I actually popped in to a porti potti, just for a quick pee. There was no line and I figured it’d be better than at the finish. I kept reminding myself that my end time didn’t matter. I was in and out of there really fast anyways.

For the last 3 miles, I just kept trudging along. I jogged most of it, but thanks to the earlier Tylenol, if I did take a short walk break, the pain was less when I started going again. This was the part of the course that I’d run before, in the relay, but possibly because I was finishing later than my relay did, there was a bit less crowd support. I amused myself by laughing at cars that were stuck waiting for me to run through intersections. I passed a few people, heading through downtown, so that felt good. I was decently strong, though the bottoms of my feet were on fire and my legs were throbbing.

With less than a mile to go, I saw Jose’s wife Amy cheering for me! I yelled back at her and that pumped me up. As I rounded the final corner, I saw my friend Sabrina’s husband and I said hi to him. And then I saw the finish line. I picked it up, not into a sprint (ha), but into a steady jog. I heard them announce the two women’s names in front of me, and then my name. I passed the second woman and came in strong. I didn’t cry, I just smiled this huge grin and thought about what an accomplishment this was. And Amanda captured it on video:

That is just so priceless. I am thrilled to have that moment on tape. Also, the local newspaper got an EXCELLENT photo of me finishing:

See? Big smile. Because this is the year I graduated with a second bachelor’s degree, studied for and passed a board exam to become a registered dietitian, landed an amazing job, got divorced, and RAN A MARATHON. I’ve got the medal to prove it:

My time was around 5:42, on the website it says 5:44, so something like that. Of course, I didn’t hug the curves, so my Garmin says I did an extra .24 miles for good measure:

After the finish, I ran into some girls from my Jill B. Nimble triathlon team! They’d run a relay together and I was so excited to randomly run in to them! We took a photo:

After I let them go, I tried to look at the food booths but I really couldn’t stomach anything. I found a spot to sit down and couldn’t move for a bit. I finally was able to put on my warm clothes over my running clothes – flannel PJ pants, a fleece sweater, and I put a beanie on over my running hat. I must have looked ridiculous. Oh, and huge snow gloves. I was FREEZING. And feeling kind of sick. I did manage to drink a chocolate milk because i knew it would help my recovery, but nothing else. Bummer, huh? All that post-race food and I couldn’t eat it! I gave some to Amanda for being awesome and helping me after the race.

Jose and Steve came over after their finish (not even 5 minutes after my own) and we gave congratulatory hugs. Marathoners all around! We then waited for Jenn to have her finish. Her coach got the officials to keep the finish line up and we saved her medals and a Mylar blanket. She came in crying and it was an amazing moment. Marathon success, all around.

I am typing this two days later, and I have to say, I am almost embarrassed that I am not that sore. Seriously. My hamstrings are a little tight, maybe my calves, but that’s IT. I am not having problems getting in and out of chairs. I was more sore after my first HALF marathon!

What this proves is what I was after: nice and easy. I went much slower than I could have. I could have kept trucking along at the pace I did the first half in, finished under 5:30 for sure, but I’d be in a lot more pain. Of course there’s always the part of me that wonders what I could have done if I’d pushed myself harder, but in general, I am proud of myself for not wrecking my body, for holding back, and for enjoying the moment.

Even two days later, not sore and ready to run again, I do not see any more marathons in my future. Never say never, they say, so I won’t make any definitive statements like that. But I WILL say that there will be no full marathons for me in 2010. I want to work on speed and fitness. Maybe, just maybe, if my speed and fitness get to where I want them to be, someday I’ll challenge the marathon again. But I really might just be satisfied with a “been there, done that, got the sticker” type of experience.

Here’s to getting faster in 2010!!

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